Double Ten Day, also known as National Celebration Day, commemorates the start of the Wuchang Uprising on October 10, 1911.This uprising abruptly ended the rule of the Qing Dynasty and established the Republic of China. The revolution also brought to T&T many Chinese immigrants comprised mostly of merchants and traders. Today, the Chinese community in T&T is heavily associated with cuisine, although many nationals of Chinese descent have also made major contributions to the fields of science, technology and culture. In recognition of Double Ten Day, some of these nationals are highlighted below.
Dr Bert Achong 1928–1996
A clinical pathologist and graduate of St Mary’s College, University College Dublin, Achong is one of the co-discoveries of the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes a rare form of nasal cancer. Achong also discovered the first case human infection by a “foamy” virus related to HIV usually found in chimpanzees. He spent many years as a lecturer at the University of Bristol, England and was also a Foundation Fellow of Pathology at the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland.
Dr Maxwell Awon 1920–1998
Awon was a distinguished obstetrician and gynaecologist who also served as a member of the House of Representatives, Minister of Health and Local Government. He headed the Stick Fighting Association for a number of years in addition to leading a Carnival band, Max Awon D’Midas and Associates that won Band of the Year in 1984 and 1987. Awon also received numerous academic accolades becoming a fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Cecil Chin 1943
Expert civil engineer Cecil Chin is one of the earliest graduates of the UWI engineering programme. Following UWI, Chin went on to Queen’s University in Canada for post graduate studies. He has worked with some of the major construction companies and is a former president of the Association of Professional Engineers of T&T. Chin is credited with increasing the land area of T&T by 100 acres. His major projects include the dredging and reclamation of parts of Claxton Bay and area in Point Fortin now occupied by Atlantic LNG.
Maureen Manchouck 1947
Maureen Manchouck, president of the National Institute of Higher Education, has played a major role in the formulation of draft science policies for T&T and the Caribbean region. She is a former chair of the Commonwealth Science Council and former secretary of the Caribbean Council of Science and Technology. She is also a founding member of the Global Water Partnership, Caribbean Chapter and helped to establish the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of T&T. Manchouck is also responsible for the creation of the NIHERST/NGC National Science Centre, the only of its kind in the region.
President George Maxwell Richards 1931
Richards is a distinguished chemical engineer and graduate of both the University of Manchester Institutes of science and Technology and the University of Cambridge. He is a former head of the UWI Department of Chemical Engineering and dean of the Faculty of Engineering. Richards also served as UWI deputy principal, acting principal, pro-vice chancellor and principal in 1985. Richards is credited with establishing links the Institutes of Chemical Engineering and ensuring the department’s programme focused on process industries to the benefit of the region. Richards was elected president in 2003 and re-elected in 2008. (Information from the NIHERST publication The Contribution of Local Chinese to Science, Technology and Innovation)